Shield a friendly target, absorbing x damage. Lasts 15 sec. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. Once shielded, the target cannot be shielded again for 15 sec.
Discipline (Level 10) Also grants you Borrowed Time, causing you to gain 40% more of the Haste stat from all sources for 6 sec
Enhanced Power Word: Shield (Level 92+) Reduces the duration of Weakened Soul caused by your Power Word: Shield by 3 sec.
Power Word: Shield (abbr. PW:S) is a defensive priestPower Word available at level five. It creates a protective shield around a friendly target which absorbs a set amount of damage. Power Word: Shield also gives the target the Weakened Soul debuff for 15 seconds, which prevents the target from being shielded.
Absorb effects apply after damage reduction effects, including armor. If the damage of an attack is partially resisted or reduced by another effect, this will lower the amount of damage remaining to be absorbed and allow a shield to last longer.
Power Word: Shield absorbs damage only. Most other effects attached to a damaging attack, such as a debuff that the attack applies or a spell interrupt will ignore the shield even if the attack deals no damage. Exceptions are Daze effects from being attacked from behind and spell pushback, which are both prevented.
Environmental damage (fall, fatigue, drowning) is not absorbed.
Generates about half the threat of normal healing spells.
The shield cannot absorb health paid to pay the cost of an ability such a Life Tap. Such health lost ignores the shield.
As of Patch 3.1, will still allow warriors and druids to generate rage from damage absorbed.
Tips and tactics
Casting it before combat does not cause any threat and reduces the time until the target can be shielded again.
A major disadvantage of the shield is that it is not a true healing spell, so it may wear off without having any impact. If the shield is cast on a player who will not be taking damage in the next 15 seconds, it is a waste of mana.
Due to changes in rage/mana generation, Power Word: Shield is more acceptable to place on tanks since 3.0.2.
Power Word: Shield can also be seen as a way of pushing a tank's health beyond its normal limit. It is effective to Power Word: Shield before major attacks that will destroy the shield in one blow. Using it before Patchwerk's Hateful Strike or similar devastating attacks reduces the chance that a tank will die to a possible critical hit after such an attack.
During the Lich King fight in Icecrown Citadel (instance), Power Word: Shield is particularly useful for the ability Infest, as it keeps the tank above normal health, making it easier to bring the tank back up to 90% health and remove the debuff. This is one reason priests excel at tank healing this encounter.
The effectiveness of Power Word: Shield is not altered by Mortal Strike and similar healing-reducing debuffs; in these situations it can sometimes be more effective to shield a tank first, rather than spam heals right away.
This is useful for casters who are receiving damage, as it prevents spell interruption from damage, especially while they are channeling, and even the priest can benefit from this (especially in solo combat).
In PvP, this spell can be a huge boon to bestow on Rogues and Feral Druids. Any damage taken will unstealth a character. However, if you Power Word: Shield a Rogue, AoE damage that doesn't get through the shield is absorbed, which greatly increases the difficulty of finding a Rogue by laying down an AoE. Power Word: Shield will also absorb the damage from DoT's, allowing DoT'd Rogues to Vanish safely. Just know that if the AoE or DoT damage is greater than the shield will take, then the actual character will take damage and stealth will become undone.
Patch 6.1.0 (24-Feb-2015): Power Word: Shield now absorbs 10% less damage.
Patch 6.0.2 (14-October-2014): Power Word: Shield may now critically strike or Multistrike.
Patch 4.1.0 (26-Apr-2011): Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.
Patch 4.0.6 (8-Feb-2011): The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
Hotfix (2010-02-05): "The amount of damage being absorbed by Sacred Shield and Power Word: Shield is being reduced by 10% correctly in only battlegrounds, Arenas, and Wintergrasp."
Patch 3.3.0 (08-Dec-2009): This spell can now be cast on non-raid/party friendly targets.
Patch 2.4.2 (2008-05-13): Power Word: Shield now has the correct sound associated with it and can no longer be heard from large distances.
Patch 2.4.0 (25-Mar-2008): Using low ranks of this spell will now be penalized the same way healing spells are penalized.
Patch 2.3.0 (13-Nov-2007): Now gains additional benefit from spell damage and healing bonuses. Base absorb values of ranks 10, 11 and 12 have been reduced.
Patch 2.1.0 (22-May-2007): The Weakened Soul effect will no longer sometimes be re-applied while zoning with this buff on.
Patch 2.0.10 (2007-03-06): The damage absorption of "Power Word: Shield" added by the caster's bonus healing has been increased to 20%.
Patch 1.10.0 (28-Mar-2006): This spell will now get a small bonus from items and effects which increase your healing.
Patch 1.7.0 (13-Sep-2005): Fixed a bug where Soul Link and Power Word: Shield, when used together, would heal the Warlock instead of splitting or absorbing damage.
Patch 1.6.0 (12-Jul-2005): Damage absorption now absorbs damage from mana burn effects like Lava Shield.
Patch 1.3.0 (07-Mar-2005): Now castable on all raid targets.
Patch 1.2.0 (18-Dec-2004): Now usable on party members only.
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